This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Does the Assemblies of God have a position on birth control?
The command of God to mankind first mentioned in the Bible is found in Genesis 1:28: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it." This was was a command of God to procreate. God created human sexuality as the means of filling the earth and having stewardship over the earth. In Bible days marriage and children were considered normal life experiences (Genesis 2:23,24). Barrenness was seen as a curse from God (Genesis 29:31; 1 Samuel 1:3-11; 2:5). A large family was viewed as a sign of God’s blessing (Psalm 127:3-5). Then as is still true in many societies around the world today, children provided the social security system for the parents.
Some within the Church believe the commanded function of sexual relations to produce children to fill the earth and to increase the Church is so important that they forbid the use of any birth control methods. They believe any sexual act, even by married couples, that does not have the potential to produce a child is wrong. Within the Assemblies of God this view is rare.
In the Assemblies of God we believe there are valid reasons for delaying, limiting, or not having children. There are those who realize they may need more time to mature before trying to raise children. There may be those who should never be a parent. Financial matters must also be considered. Some couples decide to wait until they have finished their schooling before having children. Living in a country in which the lives of the parents and children are in constant danger due to religious persecution might be reason to use birth control to await a safer time for starting or expanding a family.
Still the normal expectation is that most Christians will marry and bring children into this world to be raised in the love and admonition of the Lord. In the past various groups, such as the Shakers, have tried to form religious communities based on total abstinence from marriage and sex. These groups rarely last beyond one generation for obvious reasons.
The use of chemically induced or surgical abortion as a means of birth control is flatly rejected. The Assemblies of God has an official position opposing abortion. Any birth control method that functions to destroy a fertilized egg, rather than actually preventing conception, is considered unacceptable. Every couple should take this into account when selecting methods of birth control.
Having children requires that parents make a commitment to raising their children to be competent, committed members of their society. This requires sacrifice of time and money that could have been used by the parents for themselves. Unfortunately, there are too many parents in our materialistic, self-centered, society who are having children, but are unwilling to commit themselves to the sacrifices required to raise children well.
This is also an issue for Christian couples. While we in the church recognize the legitimacy of good family planning and the use of birth control, we need to strike a balance. We must look beyond our ambitions and seek God in making these personal decisions. This is not to say every Christian couple must have children. It is simply to recognize that God’s plan for our lives may or may not include children. And regardless of circumstances, whether planned or unplanned, wanted or unwanted . . . children are a gift of God to be cherished. As Psalm 139:13-16 makes clear, the Lord is concerned about each person from the womb. Any decision to have or not have children should be made carefully and prayerfully.
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.